I had intended to offer a brief discussion on meningiomas, and more details on the nature of my speech problems (which I fear might be getting a little worse again) but nothing is going as planned, as usual. I find myself experiencing events that are more compelling than showing my readers the finer details of Broca’s Area and Wernicke’s aphasia. Perhaps another time.
Allow me to explain. My 100-year-old grandfather is dying.
My mother, who is surprisingly adept at texting for someone her age, explained the situation in the broken, grammatically incorrect way that only modern texting can offer: He had a wee heart attack a couple of days ago while sleeping. He was at the nursing home at the time and after he was unresponsive, he was taken to the hospital. After a heart doctor offered surgical options, it was decided that he probably wouldn’t survive any surgery and that the best option would be to move him to hospice and keep him as comfortable as possible.
He’s just so tired, she said. His heartbeat is slowing down. At first, the thought of death frightened him, but my mother thinks he’s finally getting to where he just wants to rest. And that brought me back to my own thoughts about dying when we didn’t know if my tumor was malignant or benign.
At the time, I decided I had been ready. If it’s cancer then let my last days on earth be peaceful and unencumbered by petty things like grudges or ambitions to be a rock star. It was important, I decided, to just experience the richness of my relationships and seek some kind of profound connection with the Universe and contribute in a meaningful way to the world community.
Months later and anti-seizure medication free, I’m back to being petrified about dying and worrying about things like what outfit to wear during the next Bosch tour of my workplace. Have I changed so little after my experience? It’s kind of interesting how my head changed so much towards something so profound, and that I can actually tell the difference.
I’ve read that there are often personality changes after brain trauma, depending on where the ruckus happened. Maybe mine weren’t immediate. I’m finding that I notice little things that are different about me, but maybe I’m reading too much into these differences. That’s what I do now. Ever on the alert for abnormalities, changes in the current. Interruptions in the flow.
Let me leave you with an experience I had last week that I probably should have prepared for. I had organized an event for a small group of co-workers at a very hip and trendy restaurant near my workplace. I hadn’t planned on attending, but I thought I’d just pop in at the beginning to make sure everyone was comfortable and the party was on its way. I did very well talking to people I hadn’t seen in a while, exchanging brief pleasantries and working the room. Then it gradually got very noisy. I had been fatigued and tired on my walk there, which already broke my personal rule of not being rested for loud and crowded places. Gradually it became the familiar struggle of being unable to express the thoughts in my head into words and sentences. At one point I asked someone to speak for me as I just couldn’t do it. It was quite exhausting, and quite frustrating.
Fortunately the CEO arrived and ended up making all the crucial decisions, with some input from me about whether to get wine or order off the craft cocktail menu. “Oh, let them order from the menu,” I answered confidently, despite the onslaught of noise around me. “It’s more of an experience that way!” Oh, the bravado. After he assured me all was well, I snuck off quietly amidst laughter and merriment and out into the safe quiet of the street.
I find myself in better shape as I end this post. I’m on an upswing, no doubt a result of lots of sleeping and rest over the long weekend, despite playing my church gig and seeing family. I’ll need a lot of mental energy to get the next post out, but I will try to get it out in a timely manner. I haven’t even begun to talk about the things I’ve learned recently from My Stroke of Insight!
‘Til next time!